Iron Maori

UltraHumps: IronMaori

Hi blog followers

Another week down and another event (# 4) completed towards my journey of 8 events that make up the Cameron Brown Award and Iron Maori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series.

During the week Coach Ray had to juggle my recovery sessions after last week’s Around Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and taper me for this week’s IronMaori Half Ironman.  To top it off I had tightness in my left thigh which hindered running.  Talk about going from one injury to another.  I wasn’t too concerned as I found that by putting a compression sleeve on it I could still run, albeit at a slower pace.  I generally have a sports massage post-events and pre-events, so I mentioned it to my sports masseuse and he went to town on my thigh, leaving me wishing I said nothing as I was wincing with the pressure he was applying, but it worked a treat.  By the end of the week I could run on it with minor discomfort, so took my time knowing I had to battle out a Half Ironman on Saturday.

Event # 4 – Iron Maori Half Ironman. So how did it go? I wasn’t feeling any after-effects of the previous weekend’s 160 km Around Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, so I knew Coach Ray had nailed my recovery/taper.  I travelled up to Napier on Friday afternoon from Wellington, arriving in time for registration and bike racking.  Mel checked into the Army Leave Centre leaving me to take care of business.  After Registration and having racked my bike, I sent Coach Ray a text for last-minute advice and he gave me a race plan.  Once I double-checked my gear and had dinner it was off to bed for an early start the next morning  Being an insomniac I didn’t get much sleep, but I’m used to that.

Saturday I awoke to the game on.  I downed poached eggs and coffee and headed to IronMaori.  Once I arrived I took care of final preparations on my bike, then laid my gear out in the sequence of what I needed when i.e. swim gear to the side, bike gear ready for the first transition, run gear ready for the second transition. After returning to drop my transition bag and bike pump into the car I got into my wetsuit and disappeared to focus on the day ahead.

I always get into the lake and do a short warm-up swim which serves a number of purposes, but primarily for me, it’s also a chance to make sure my goggles are good. Once they are on and in place, leak-free, they stay on.  If I start moving them to my forehead and back to the eyes it’s a recipe for them to fog up, so I use google discipline and don’t muck with them.

I noticed during the warm up my previously injured arm felt really good, so I was keen to test it over the 2km swim, but not to be! Over the loudspeaker, all swimmers were asked to exit the water and report to transition.  This being standard practice at this event we all got out and the Race Director announced the swim had to be cancelled. I was gutted, but fully understand the direction Heather had to give.  We could tell she was gutted having to do it, particularly with this being IronMaori’s tenth anniversary of their Half Ironman.

Instead, we would do a 3 km run, then the 90 km cycle, then the half marathon run.  Oh well, out of the wetsuit, on with the running shoes and cycling gloves to have one less thing to worry about for that upcoming transition.  The Karakia was followed by a Wero Challenge which everyone focuses on to the point you could probably hear a pin drop, then it was game on.

John Humphries

The 3 km run turned out to be 1.5 km but still all good. My bike was at the end of the racks so knew I was in a good place. I had shifted my Garmin from triathlon to run, so just had to remember to switch it around a bit during each discipline of the event.  Once I got on the bike I made a comment to Wayne who was competing and part of the IronMaori hierarchy that the wind keeps picking up so early in the day.  He suggested I should have left it in Wellington.  He was probably right as it just got worse as the day went by.  By the time I reached the halfway turnaround point, I knew I was in for a nasty headwind back. It seemed every corner or bend the wind would turn with it, and not in a favourable way. I glanced at the speedo on my bike and noticed the kilometres were ticking over, but it seemed to be taking forever with the speed decreasing as all competitors battled the wind.

Eventually, I was off the bike and into transition, and glad that was over.  The run, 4 laps of which in my mind I break down to 8 sets, out 1, back 2, out 3, etc.  This helps to make it go better for me.  I had already placed the compression sleeve on for the bike ride so a quick change into my running shoes, on with my cap and running shades for my eyes, a quick toilet stop and I was off.  I then noticed I still had my cycling gloves on.  What a muppet I thought, so I took them off as I ran and shoved them in the back pockets of my top.

I was conscious of my thigh, but it appeared fine to run on, so I followed Coach Ray’s advice and stuck with a pace I knew I could maintain throughout.  This worked fine for the first 3 laps or 6 reps.  On the last lap, I noticed my legs were feeling heavy and my pace slowed as I watched my Garmin, but I still focused on running down the person in front of me (catch the guy in blue, the lady in red, etc etc).

Ultra Humps

I crossed the finish line in an “unofficial time” on my Garmin for the 1.5 km run, 90 km cycle, and half marathon in 5 hours 21 minutes 56 seconds so I was pretty happy.  I wanted to do the half marathon in sub 2 hours after the 90 km cycle.  I came in on 2 hours exactly (2:00:00), no additional minutes or seconds, which had Coach Ray laughing when he looked at my Training Peaks record.  Maybe slowing for high fives held me back the one second I needed, but they are always worth it and I was still happy with my time.  My support crew was there to cheer me on along with many others on the course I knew.

Iron Maori

When uplifting my bike when transition opened, a guy called Shane said “Hi” and told me he reads my blogs on Coach Ray’s website, I was pretty stoked (apologies Shane if I have your name wrong [you got it right, Humps – Coach Ray]).  Stay tuned team as I head to the 5th event in January the Port of Tauranga Enduro Half Ironman which makes up the 3rd component of the IronMaori / Port of Tauranga Legend Series.

Regards John Humphries aka UltraHumps.

Humps will be writing weekly as he continues his journey raising funds for the Fallen Hero’s Trust

Read Humps’ article from last week here:

UltraHumps: Round Taupo

And all his previous articles are stored here:

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